Friday, December 22, 2017

Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

I hope you try these delightful Double Chocolate Biscotti if you have time to bake one more cookie.  I combined a few recipes to come up with these delicious double chocolate biscotti that are perfect with coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon or a glass of milk or wine in the evening.

They are easy to make and a delicious addition to a holiday cookie platter.  They aren't as dense as some Biscotti so much easier to eat.

Twas three days before Christmas, and all through the house...
The smell of baked cookies was stirring more than just one mouse.

The mice quickly retreated to safety because...
A coyote was near and had such strong jaws!

These three young knights saved the day,
By hiding the mouse family safely away :)

This big coyote was one of two in our yard this morning. We've been seeing them more frequently this year and so it seems that the coyote population is growing in our area. 

I wish you a very safe and Merry Christmas and Holiday Season.  We are looking forward to seeing our three sweet grandsons on Christmas Day!

I'm sure their stockings will be hung by the chimney with care :)

Double Chocolate Pistachio Biscotti

Printable Recipe

2-1/2 cups all purpose flour, scoop and level method
1/2 cup bittersweet cocoa powder, such as Ghirardelli
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, just barely softened
3 teaspoons freshly grated navel orange zest (about 2 large oranges)
1 cup
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole salted pistachios
2 tablespoons finely chopped pistachios blended with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 ounces shaved bittersweet chocolate
1 egg, mixed with 1 teaspoons water

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, mix butter and orange zest on medium high speed until smooth.  Slowly add 1 cup of sugar and beat for another minute.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute each, scraping down the bowl.  Add vanilla and mix.  Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, slowly, mixing just until combined.  Do not over mix.

Remove bowl from mixer and fold in 1 cup of the whole pistachios and the shaved chocolate.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a food processor, pulse the 2 tablespoons of pistachios with the 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar.

Position oven shelves in upper and lower third of the oven.  Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment or silicone liners.

Divide dough into thirds, and on lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 12 x 3 inch log (about 1 inch thick) and place on one of the baking sheets sideways.  All three should fit on one large baking sheet.

Brush each with egg wash and sprinkle the tops with the chopped pistachio and sugar mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes or until just lightly browned. Remove from oven and let rest on the pan for 5 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 300 F.  Using a large spatula, carefully remove each log to a cutting surface and cut into 1 inch slices. Using 2 baking sheets, lay the slices on their sides and return to the oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn slices over.  Bake for another 7 to 10 minutes.  Allow to rest for 5 minutes and transfer to baking rack to cool completely.

Can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks or freeze.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Cranberry, Almond and Roasted Carrot Salad

If you're still thinking about ideas for your holiday dinner, I have a unique and delicious salad to share!  This past weekend, my husband and I enjoyed dinner with a group of good friends (our gourmet dinner group) and we were assigned this salad by our hosts.  Never would I have guessed how wonderful it would taste when I first read through the recipe.

The orange juice infused dried cranberries, toasted Marcona almonds, semi-hard goat cheese and honey-roasted carrots on tangy arugula tossed with a sherry vinaigrette was amazing!  So much so, that my husband requested that we have this salad again the following night!

I was able to find a package of three different Spanish cheeses at Costco which included Manchego, Tipsy Goat and Iberico cheese. The Tipsy Goat was perfect.  The next evening, I used the Manchego which is a sheep's/goat milk combination and it was also very good.

If you are familiar with Ina Garten's book Cooking for Jeffrey, you may already know this salad as her Maple Roasted Carrot Salad.  I made only a slight change to the vinaigrette and in the preparation.

The Christmas shopping is done, the tree is decorated, the presents are wrapped and Christmas cards addressed and sent.  So far, I've made Gingerbread from my recipe found here and hope to make more cookies this week that I'll share if time permits!

Wishing all of you a stress-free week before Christmas!

Cranberry, Almond and Roasted Carrot Salad

Printable Recipe

Serves 6

2 pounds thin organic carrots with fresh green tops
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup Grade A maple syrup

2/3 cup dried cranberries
2/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1-2 oranges)

3 tablespoons sherry wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, minced 
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of honey 

2 5-ounce boxes of baby arugula
6 ounces semi-hard goat cheese, such as tipsy Goat, Manchego (or feta)
2/3 cup roasted, salted Marcona almonds (Marcona almonds can be found at Costco)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

While the oven is preheating, combine the cranberries and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a soft boil, then set aside to cool. Cranberries and juice can be placed in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated until dinner. 

Cheese can be diced and placed in a covered bowl in the refrigerator until ready to toss the salad. 

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, garlic, salt and honey. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of olive oil. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

Trim and scrub the carrots (peel if they are bagged carrots). Cut the carrots in large diagonal slices as they shrink while roasting. Try to make all the slices as even as possible. Transfer to a large bowl with ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss well and transfer to 2 baking sheet pans allowing plenty of room for roasting.  Roast for 15-20 minutes, tossing once, until the carrots are tender.

Transfer all the carrots to one of the sheet pans, add the maple syrup.  Toss and then roast for about 10 minutes or so, until caramelized turning once.  Please watch carefully as the maple syrup can burn if left in the oven too long. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes to cool slightly. At this point you may allow them to cool completely and cover with a sheet of aluminum foil until you are close to serving the salad.  Then, add the maple syrup and roast in a pre-heated 425 degree oven until caramelized.

Place the arugula in a large bowl and add the carrots, cranberries (along with the orange juice), goat cheese, almonds, and the vinaigrette. Toss with large spoons, sprinkle lightly with salt, and serve. 

Adapted from Ina Garten's, Cooking for Jeffrey.